We’ve noticed a trend in a handful of our neighborhood bars lately. It seems that staff who pride themselves in stocking high-quality, flavorful beers are figuring out ways to undermine their need to sell yellow water to the masses. And they’re speaking up about it.
The Black Squirrel, for example, has a section of their beer list dedicated to “lightly-hopped lagers” and describes them as “classic” and “mild,” the kind of beers that “whisper instead of scream.” A use of euphemism if we’ve ever seen one.
The Reef‘s approach is even better. Their description of Miller Light states it’s from “somewhere in America” and reads, “The aroma of beer precedes a distinct beer taste. Finishes like beer.” Next to their thoughtful descriptions of the craft and imported beers they can always be trusted to have on draft, this is an obvious slight.
Bourbon is by far the best example, as you can see from the photo above. They boldly state how they feel on their board, as well as their beer menu, which has “Something Light” listed where the fizzy yellow stuff should be. When we asked our server recently why they couldn’t bring themselves to write the B-u-d word anywhere in the bar, he said they didn’t like that stuff there and that it was a jab at the weekend clientèle who demand it.
We’ve heard some bar owners say it’s good to carry what your customers want and then nudge them along toward more flavorful styles. We’ve also heard beer directors with a “no-crap-on-tap” mentality say that the big beer companies make enough money without their help. We pose the question to you. Have you seen treatment like this anywhere and what do you think about it?